When a Virginia resident begins to think seriously about a divorce, there are many issues that will likely come to mind. A divorce can be simple due to a short marriage, little property and no children. However, for others it may be more complex, bringing up the need to resolve a host of tough issues, including child custody, visitation, property division, support and alimony. If your circumstances entail a simple divorce, your family law attorney can facilitate a fast and easy procedure that will be significantly less expensive and burdensome.

In most divorces, it is usually best to take some time to think about and discuss each pertinent issue with your family law attorney.  Rushing to the finishing line is a good recipe for rash decision-making. Often divorce clients are in a tremendous hurry to get married again or they may feel a great need to get immediate closure.

A person who is rushing into another matrimonial plunge as soon as the ink is dry on the divorce order could be someone with a tendency to repeat prior errors. There is nothing wrong with finding a true romantic partnership for another chance at happiness. However, a person is best advised to do it slowly, test the waters, and make sure that the same mistakes are not repeated.

In negotiating asset distribution issues, it is helpful to compare the value of an asset in terms of its tax consequences. Thus, a residential premises appraised at $300,000 may be worth more than a retirement investment account with the same value. The investment may be hit by tax consequences for early withdrawal, or you may be the kind of person who should not have access to a large reservoir of cash. In that case, the home will make more sense partly because it is not liquid and you cannot spend it.

Also, remember to look for hidden assets and accounts, or for those that may have been lost or forgotten. One survey revealed that about 15 percent of married persons admitted that they hid an account from the other spouse.  It is advisable to send notice to all institutions where you have joint financial accounts to advise them to freeze the account until further notice. Spouses do run to the bank and close out accounts — keep that in mind as soon as you decide to file for divorce.

Separate your joint credit cards and loans, and remove the other spouse from accounts that you will keep. If it is your car, get the other’s name off the papers if possible. You may turn to your divorce attorney for help in such legal details. Issues over title to real estate must also be resolved, but that is a topic for one or more future blogs. A Virginia resident going through the divorce process will do best by maintaining a regular line of communications with his divorce attorney in order to make the strongest and most informed decisions.